US urges Iran to unblock social media, calls emergency UN session
WASHINGTON – US envoy to the UN Nikki Haley on Tuesday called for emergency sessions of the United Nations Security Council and Human Rights Council to discuss the Iranian protests and the government’s reaction.
Speaking at the UN, Haley called on Iran to unblock social media sites used by anti-government protesters to organize their demonstrations and on “freedom-loving” nations to rally to their cause after violent unrest gripped the Islamic Republic for a fifth day.
Reading the slogans of protesters from outside the Security Council, Haley rejected claims from Iranian leaders that “foreign enemies” were behind the demonstrations.
“We all know that’s complete nonsense,” she said. “The demonstrations are completely spontaneous. They are virtually in every city in Iran.”
“This is the precise picture of a long-oppressed people rising up against their dictators,” she added, characterizing the protesters as “tremendously courageous.”
The Trump administration is strongly supporting the peaceful demonstrators, who originally took to the streets to protest economic stagnation but are now targeting the Islamic Republic itself.
“By the thousands, Iranian citizens are taking to the streets to protest the oppression of their own government,” Haley said. “It takes great bravery for the Iranian people to use the power of their voice against their government, especially when their government has a long history of murdering its own people who dare to speak the truth.”
At a briefing at the White House, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the Trump administration does not seek regime change in Iran and believes that positive change for Iranians might be possible to achieve through the current system.
“We support them giving basic rights to the people of Iran and we support them stopping being a state sponsor of terror,” Sanders said.